Coasteering near Rhossili

Self catering – 3 reasons to love it!

There’s no doubt about it, the reason I love self catering is for its flexibility and comfort. You can be as active or laid back as you want to be without fitting around breakfast schedules; when you want to make plans with your travelling companions you can enjoy a beverage sitting on a comfy settee rather than a bed; if the weather lets you down for a day you are protected by your own solid roof and walls and if you have a furry friend or two they can join you on your travels. I’ve enjoyed road trips from hotel to hotel and it’s fun camping, but there’s nothing quite as relaxing as settling into your own domain for a few days and becoming part of the community.

1. Self catering helps you meet up with friends and family.

One of the joys of our large house when we lived in it was getting a tribe together for a weekend. Lots of children running around, plenty of people to muck in with cooking and child-minding and lots of space to chill out and catch up with news – communal living at its best. Having a house with enough space to absorb that many people was one of the elements that made it work so well and sharing a holiday or short break with friends and family in a larger house can ensure everyone has a great time whilst keeping their own private space.

family on the beach

Meet up with friends and family. © Crown copyright (2012) Visit Wales

 

2. Self catering keeps meals flexible, affordable and fun.

No one enjoys a huge cooked breakfast more than I, but there are limits to the number of these the human body can take on a daily basis without falling into a deep slumber and missing the holiday! Self catering keeps eating as flexible as it is at home. Cooked breakfast every day if that floats your boat, a cup of black coffee and everything in between for the rest of us. Packed lunches avoid searching, queuing and waiting at cafes and restaurants and can be quickly assembled from what lies around you in best Blue Peter style. Take, for example, the Scooby Snack – staple diet of our beach trips when the boys were small. We are blessed in that our local corner shop sells fresh bread and a small range of fresh fruit and veg, so this became a quick and easy preliminary to setting off – a promise of the day to come!

Children enjoying an ice cream

Eat in or dine out, the choice is yours. © Crown copyright (2012) Visit Wales

If your prime reason for going on holiday is to leave the kitchen behind nothing says you have to set foot in it on a self catering holiday. There are many marvelous eateries in the Swansea and Gower area, delicious Take Away’s on the doorstep and you now even have the option of a chef cooking in your own home (more of which in a future blog). We usually do a bit of both, which helps spread the budget with two strapping teenagers to feed. What is your preference?

 

3. Self catering allows you to do what you want, when you want.

Trying something new keeps you young and makes a holiday stand out from the crowd. We have a wealth of activities around the Gower area and this is ever growing as we become increasingly known as a tourist destination. Try coasteering or have a taster surf lesson; book a game of golf or take a photography course; try your hand at archery or learn how to make chocolates. Mix and match with visits to local attractions, walks along the cliffs and building sandcastles at the beach and you can tailor your perfect holiday from a stable base where you can put your feet up at the end of the day and share your experiences.

Coasteering near Rhossili

Coasteering on the Gower © Crown copyright (2012) Visit Wales

Staying at a self catering home from home means that the daily acts of living can fade into the background whilst your new surroundings recharge your batteries. We hope to make your stay at Gower Edge as comfortable and easy going as possible and we are fortunate to be sited in an area which is renowned for recharging batteries. Perhaps we’ll see you here soon!

About the Author

I am the owner of Gower Edge, a pet friendly self catering property which sleeps up to 8 on the Gower Peninsula. We love taking self catering holidays ourselves in the UK, with the seaside being a favourite destination (preferably with a golf club nearby for the lads!)

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Please leave a comment

As an anxious first time blogger I crave your comments so don’t be shy! I’m waiting to hear about your favourite tips for a happy self catering holiday or memories of great experiences so please share them below. Thanks for looking!

 

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Close up of the three cliffs at Three Cliffs Bay

Three Cliffs Bay – Time out!

My first visit to Three Cliffs Bay will remain forever associated with guilty pleasure. It was not long after we had moved to Swansea. My husband was a Warden at one of the University Halls of Residence and I was a newly qualified teacher at the start of the May half term. I dropped my husband into work after lunch and picked up a student friend who lived at the Hall for the return journey.

View across Three Cliffs Bay

Wonderful Three Cliffs Bay. © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

A pile of marking awaited me and he was returning to further revision for summer exams – the sky above us was azure blue and went on forever. Somewhere between the University and the Hall we “missed” the turning and ended up at Three Cliffs Bay. I can still conjure memories of the warm sun on my back and the smooth sand between my toes during our unscheduled walk on that glorious late Spring day. OK, it’s not Fifty Shades of Grey but we felt naughty enough taking a couple of hours off work – more innocent times maybe!

View from path leading to Three Cliffs Bay

Path to Three Cliffs Bay from Penmaen. © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

Whether you are on holiday or sneaking a short break from work yourself, Three Cliffs is a lovely stretch of the Gower coast to explore. There are a number of routes which lead down to the bay, all require a moderate walk so sensible footwear is suggested. The route from Penmaen (shown above) affords pretty views over the valley, with it’s meandering river and famous cliffs in the background as you approach.

Close up of the three cliffs at Three Cliffs Bay

The three cliffs for which the Bay is famous. © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

For the more sedentary, there are a number of viewpoints from the road (A4118) which allow you to view enjoy the cliffs from a distance and in passing. It is difficult to get a bad camera angle on these iconic rocks, so click away and expose your friends to this little area of happiness. For those with an interest in the geology of the area, the Geological Society have provided a wonderfully detailed explanation of Three Cliffs Bay geology, keen enough to start with a description of a rocky outcrop by the telephone box in Penmaen and then guiding the reader down and around the bay itself.

Aerial view of Three Cliffs Bay

Three Cliffs from the air. © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

In addition to Penmaen, it is also possible to reach the bay via walking routes from Parkmill, where again parking is available. If you approach Three Cliffs Bay from either of these routes you will have the added fun of using the stepping stones to cross the river. Go back a forth a few times – stepping stones are not that common in life and you should enjoy them while you can. Then of course you can take your shoes off and have a nice paddle (to remind yourself just how freezing river water always is compared with the sea!) and build a dam or two.

People walking across the stepping stones at Three Cliffs Bay

The stepping stones at Three Cliffs Bay. © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

Pennard Castle provides a dramatic addition to the skyline on the inner edge of the Bay, as if any more were needed. David Ross has provided a detailed background to the castle for those who would like to understand it’s history, and it is a beautiful location to stay awhile and enjoy the vista. As he suggests, the route from Parkmill is a good one to follow if you would particularly like to visit the castle itself, otherwise, cast your eyes upwards as you make your way to the seafront and you will have a great view of it on the horizon.

Sun breaking through the clouds over Pennard Castle near Three Cliffs Bay

Pennard Castle overlooking Three Cliffs Bay © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

The third common way to approach Three Cliffs Bay is from the village of Southgate. There is a large National Trust car park here, a good place for a picnic with lovely views across the Bristol Channel to Devon. Three Cliffs lies at the end of the cliff walk as you turn right out of the car park with the sea in front of you. The National Trust have thoughtfully provided a walking route on their site which you can download but keep walking with the sea on your right and you can’t miss it. The view below is that which greets you before you descend to the bay. The beach in front of three cliffs here is actually cut off from the main beach as the tide comes in and therefore warrants its own name – Pobbles Bay.

View of Three Cliffs Bay from Southgate

Three Cliffs can also be reached from Southgate. © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

Pobbles is quite sheltered and our kids have been known to strip off and splash in the larger sand pools in the November sunshine, which caused me to think I was a bad parent at the time but doesn’t seem to have done them any lasting harm! This was our most common route to the beach after that first summer visit, often part of a winter dog/child walk and chosen for the warming beverage and delicious home cooked cakes at Three Cliffs Coffee Shop which rounded off our trip. Lunch at this compact and bijou eatery became a family tradition on Christmas Eve and we’ve never quite found anywhere local to us now to replace it, so enjoy it for us if you pass through!

If you have visited this beach yourself I hope this has brought back some happy memories of your own. Perhaps you would like to share them in the comments section below. If you have lived a life which has not yet included Three Cliffs Bay, then perhaps it’s time to remedy that. The final link will take you to some jolly nice local accommodation (Gower Edge), the booking of which might be a good first move in that direction!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sylvia Mawby was lucky enough to live in Swansea for 19 years and her two (now grown up) boys were born and did a fair bit of growing up there. When the family moved to the Midlands for work she kept on the family home to run as the self catering holiday let Gower Edge. She still loves to visit the area and misses the sea terribly – especially when there’s marking to be done!

Sylvia Mawby - Owner of gower edge self catering holiday cottage

That’s all folks!

LINKS FOR THIS POST

Geology of Three Cliffs Bay

National Trust Walk from Southgate to Three Cliffs Bay

History of Pennard Castle

Three Cliffs Coffee Shop and Restaurant

Gower Edge Holiday Accommodation

 

 

 

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